Pacific NW-based nonprofit to host Open House at exhibit representing life-saving work around the world

Portland/Seattle –This month, Medical Teams International marks 40 years of delivering life-saving care to people in crisis with a commemorative event at the Real Life Exhibit in Portland on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2019.

In 1979, businessman Ron Post was sitting in his home in Salem, Oregon watching news reports of thousands of Cambodians trying to escape the Khmer Rouge. He saw an aid worker pick up a girl’s body, who he thought had probably starved to death. His own teenage daughter sleeping nearby on the couch, Post realized that it could have been her if she had been born in Cambodia. In his book recounting the creation of Medical Teams, he wondered: “Why was I blessed to be born here and not there? I didn’t choose to be born here. Nor did the parents of that Cambodian teenager choose to be born there!”

Post immediately had a plan, to recruit a medical team to go help the Cambodians in two weeks. His decision to get up off the couch and turn love into action was the beginning of four decades of providing life-saving medical care for people in crisis. Medical Teams International – formerly known as Northwest Medical Teams – has responded to natural disasters, humanitarian and refugee crises, and natural disasters, becoming internationally recognized as a global health leader.

“When we look back at where we began forty years ago – one person deciding to take action – to the enormous reach we have now, it’s overwhelming and inspiring. In a broken world, our belief that every person matters has guided us through decades of life-saving care for families driven from their homes by war, by persecution, and by natural disasters,” Medical Teams International President and CEO Martha Holley Newsome said.

Since the initial team deployed in 1979, Medical Team’s staff and volunteers have helped tens of millions of vulnerable and displaced people suffering through war, famine, communicable diseases, and natural disasters. Last year alone, they helped more than three million people in 27 countries. A moving new video provides a glimpse into three lives changed because of the vital and compassionate care they received.

“From Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to the latest Ebola outbreak, we are on the front lines, caring for people in crisis. Here at home, our mobile dental units help people with routine care that is too often overlooked,” Holley Newsome said. “In a world where refugee crises and natural disasters are on the rise, we look forward to the next four decades of caring for people in crisis.”

The Real Life Exhibit, a unique museum experience representing the work of Medical Teams, will be hosting a 40th Anniversary Open House on Saturday, November 16 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The event is open to the public and will feature guest speakers discussing the impact Medical Teams has had on them, contributions made over the last 40 years, and their personal experiences with Medical Teams, followed by a reception. The Exhibit will be unveiling a new vignette focused on the historical timeline of Medical Teams, beginning with its work with Cambodian refugees in 1979. Free tours will also be available. Please RSVP:


About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Because every person—no matter where they are or how desperate their situation—matters. Find Medical Teams International at and on social media using @medicalteams.